UNDP’s fourth learning event to share SDG solutions proposed by local governments was held on the 5th of October 2023 with an exchange between Prague in the Czech Republic, and Amman in Jordan on the topic ‘How to use data platforms for better local decision making’.
Cities have been experimenting with data platforms for a while now. Technology evolves quickly, but local governments are also adapting quickly to new tools and possibilities to improve service delivery. By now, most of the world’s bigger cities have developed some type of data strategy to collect information about how their citizens behave, move, need, and request in terms of city services. Investing in data platforms is sometimes difficult to justify, it is a long-term strategy for a city administration and also requires breaking silos and force different city departments to share information. It can also contribute to induce difficult changes, even sometimes changes that can go in the wrong direction.
The cities of Amman, in Jordan, and Prague, in Czech Republic, have established data platforms to inform their decision-making, improve their governance systems and service delivery to the communities for the sustainability and inclusiveness of their respective cities cities.
The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) is developing an online participatory platform with interactive maps developed by GAM that allows residents to navigate the city, especially during crises.
You can see Amman project presentation here
If you missed the event, you can watch the full webinar here (French and Spanish versions also available) in our YouTube Channel
The City of Prague is experimenting a data platform called “ Golemio” that is mainly an open-source solution providing business intelligence to decision-makers as well as to other city-owned companies on a Business to Business model of collaboration with performance-based Service level agreements (SLAs). In numbers, the platform currently hosts over 120 active dashboards and is powered by a team of around 25 data scientists.
View Prague presentation here
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized its third “Local Solution series” online on Thursday 5th October 2023, more than 18 participants attended the event online. Both local governments are actively contributing to Agenda 2030 by experimenting digitalization that improve transparency, accountability, and access to public services, contributing to the development of strong, effective, and accountable institutions at the local government level, thus fostering sustainable development of municipalities, which align with the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) :
SDG 16.7 to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels. By the end of the project, Amman intends to optimize service provision for a wide range of critical services, especially during times of crisis, whereas the Prague Data Platform will serve as a major open data-building community, and wil also serve as Data-based services such as Analytics and Interpretation.
SDG 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels. Amman aims at bridging its gaps in delivery key services to improve its response capacity for future emergencies and prioritize its investment to help its most vulnerable communities, whereas the Data Platform for Prague will foster the ability to consume any kind of data and interface and provide custom based data services tailored to the city of prague.
SDG 11.3 enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries by 2030.
The session offered a chance for the two cities to exchange their experiences and challenges and discussed how they are experimenting the digitalization to ensure inclusive decision-making and to develop effective and accountable institutions at all levels. Participants were also engaged by posing questions and sharing comments. The discussions drew out insights and great ideas which can inform decisions in similar projects.
DATA-DRIVEN DECISION MAKING IS EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT
Data platforms equip local governments with the means to collect, analyze, and interpret data. Informed decisions rooted in data are more likely to yield effectiveness and efficiency, thereby diminishing the potential for mismanagement and corruption. These platforms enable local governments to render data and information regarding their activities, financial matters, and decision-making processes accessible to the public. This transparency fosters accountability, as citizens, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders can oversee and scrutinize governmental actions. Furthermore, data platforms assist local governments in the more equitable and efficient allocation of resources, consequently reducing the risk of favoritism or discriminatory practices. Moreover, by offering clear and transparent data, these platforms fortify accountability mechanisms, including audits, oversight bodies, and the media.
DATA PLATFORMS CAN FACILITATE CITIZEN ANGAGEMENT
Data platforms have the potential to facilitate citizen engagement by providing channels for feedback, participation, and collaboration. They also empower local governments to engage in long-term planning, safeguarding infrastructure development and public services from being compromised for short-term political gains. This fosters a sense of ownership and oversight among the public, thereby making it more challenging for local officials to partake in corrupt practices. Moreover, through streamlined data and information sharing, local governments can reduce bureaucratic obstacles, ultimately minimizing opportunities for corruption and bribery. It’s worth noting that data platforms play a crucial role in enabling local governments to prioritize long-term planning, ensuring that infrastructure development and public services remain resilient in the face of short-term political considerations.